Open Data Portal is powerful toolbox for creative minds

June 11, 2015

From interactive maps to college courses to smart phone apps helping the visually impaired - Louisville Metro Government’s Open Data Portal is being used throughout the nation giving citizens a practical look at information.

Like a tree canopy map that not only allows you to see tree coverage in your neighborhood but combines that information with property tax data. Do more trees mean higher property value? Michael Schnuerle has provided you with the resource to explore that question. Metro Government’s Department of Information Technology posted a data set from a tree canopy study on-line and within a couple of days, Michael created an interactive exploration mapping tool.

 “It’s great to see people taking raw data and turning it into creative and useful applications,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “We are committed to increasing the openness and transparency of city government and look forward to seeing what the tech community can come up with in the future.”

The city’s Open Data Portal (available at is a hot spot for “techies.” A professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA uses Metro Animal Services’ statistical data - available on-line - to teach students how to build software to integrate with on-line data systems. That’s right, an entire university class!

What some may describe as cumbersome raw data can be taken by creative minds and turned into apps and data to improve the flow of information and resources to the public.

This weekend at the National Day of Civic Hacking, dozens of people including many from our Code Louisville Program competed to help Louisville lead the way in open data usage.

Among the winning projects – an interactive data map showing crime, safety and child health statistics in the Louisville area created in partnership with the Kentucky Youth Advocates; a website that connects Louisville residents to physicians who accept Medicaid; and a database of youth services. The final two used open data from Metro Government.

Open data is a powerful tool box. This winter a group converged for two days at the Urban Design Studio and the American Printing House for the Blind. The Open Streets Maps learning and editing session supported and enhanced the American Printing House for the Blind’s ‘Nearby Explorer’ app. The app gives the visually impaired and the blind audible cues about their immediate surroundings and directions to places they would like to go.

A group from U of L’s Urban Planning Capstone Class along with the Greater Louisville Project used data to translate information from a neighborhood level regarding education, health, jobs and quality of place. For example, you can learn more about the schools closest to you or look at indicators that provide insight into where education in Louisville is going in the future!

The increasing availability of data has created a sea change in the way interactive systems are built. What’s next? The answer is as broad as your imagination!

Check out creative Open Date Usage:

Property Tax and Tree Cover by Parcel

Helping the Visually Impaired Navigate Louisville Using Open Data

Data For A Greater Louisville

Data source: